The nation's labor environment continues to slowly but steadily improve. The private sector created 216,000 jobs in March, bringing the U.S. unemployment rate to 8.8 percent, a decrease from 8.9 percent in February, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The manufacturing sector created 17,000 jobs in March. Fabricated metal products accounted for 8,000 of those positions, and machinery added 5,000 employees. The durable goods manufacturing sector has added 243,000 jobs since its most recent December 2009 low.
More than 8 million people lost their jobs or completed temporary work assignments in March. The number of long-term unemployed people, those who have been jobless for at least 27 weeks, accounted for 45.5 percent of the total unemployed population, a figure that rose from 43.9 percent in February.